Dynamic advertisement delivery strives to serve ads most relevant to the user’s behavior. I feel we can develop more effective call-to-actions in a similar way by helping the user select a relevant context, and then using simulation in that context to refine our sense of what call-to-action is going to appeal to that user. I realized in the process that we have not given this adequate consideration in some recent interactive pieces we’ve produced, but we will be more sensitive to this in the future.
For example, in basic equipment orientation-type of presentations, we always have some means to contact the manufacturer for more information. We have taken a simple-minded, lazy approach in this, which is bad. Not only does it require the user to make an effort to tell us what he feels is relevant (which, for those who do so, should be treated specially because the effort in successfully requesting contact likely means the user is fairly serious about something), but also it ignores any patterns of interest we might have detected in the user’s behavior using the orientation.
I think I more productive approach would be to weave the request for information, or suggested contact, much more into the user’s discovery of the content, unobtrusively, but intentionally. In the title of this post, I mention “simulation contexts.” What I’m thinking is that one can use a user’s selection of different ways in which a product is used (different contexts) to help narrow what type of relevant information the user might want to acquire. It’s not just making a simulation that highlights unique or compelling features–it’s creating contexts that have problems which the product is suited to solve (and hence the user can see how the product saves the day).
If we understand better what context is relevant to the user’s pursuit of information, we can make it easy for the user to request that information in that context, or understand where to go for more details. I believe that the more that the user has to disconnect mentally from content discovery/exploration to go find how to contact the advertiser, the more likely they will not.